I’m sure most of you are doing the same thing I’m doing right now. Spending time with family and friends, watching football, catching up on that book you’ve been dying to read, eating too much, and enjoying the occasional nap.
Between now and the first week in January, you’ll get a chance to re-read the top ten posts of 2015. Enjoy the reruns. See you in January!
There’s a cool buzz running through the history education world.
Primary sources. Documents. Using evidence. Solving problems. Historical thinking. And that’s a good thing. But I know that it can be difficult sometimes trying to figure out how to use primary sources.
First piece of advice?
Don’t worry so much about primary vs. secondary sources. Start thinking about evidence, about data, instead of focusing just on one sort of document over another. Because if we’re asking great questions, kids will be using all sorts of documents and sources to solve the problem.
I’ve always tried to preach the idea of having kids answer great questions and using a variety of evidence to help them answer those questions. So it’s not just primary sources. It needs to be all sorts of evidence – so kids might need to be using secondary sources. That might be tertiary sources such as a textbook or Wikipedia.
But kids are still using evidence and data to solve the problem. We need to be training our kids how to use that evidence – evaluating, sourcing, and asking questions about audience and purpose. So it’s not really about training them so that they can read primary sources after they graduate – it’s about the long term . . . training them to make better decisions because they now have the ability to evaluate evidence and ask good questions about all sorts of things: Read more
Several months ago, I was in beautiful Fremont, Washington, a community north of downtown Seattle. My son had just graduated from Seattle Pacific and we had the opportunity to spend a few days exploring the metro area. We had already done all of the typical Seattle touristy things – Pike’s Market, Space Needle, the icky wall of chewing gum.
While looking for lesser known attractions, Jake suggested Fremont. Every Sunday, Fremont hosts a huge flea market / delicious food truck / arts and crafts extravaganza that attracts thousands. I went for the food and stayed for the old books and super cool old maps.
While browsing through one particular booth looking for artistic inspiration, my daughter ran across a box full of old photographs. No names. No dates. So we practiced our primary document sourcing skills, deducing that they must have been taken in the late 1940s / early 1950s by American soldiers and their families. Scenes of the Eiffel Tower, festivals complete with lederhosen, and celebrations with uniformed Americans were prominent.
Erin selected a pile of the most interesting images – picking quite a few that seemed to be from the same camera roll and photographer.
Okay. Your daughter found some old photos. And . . . so what?
It took me a while to figure out the so what. The so what started to develop when she became intrigued with several of the images, particularly with one that showed what seemed to be a Gothic cathedral. Read more
Nope. Not a baseball cap. Not a visor. Not a bowler, beanie, beret, or bucket hat.
As in History Assessments of Thinking.
I know you’ve been over to both of the Stanford History Education Group’s sites – Reading Like a Historian as well as their Beyond the Bubble page. Both are incredibly powerful examples of what instruction and assessment can look like when we focus on historical thinking processes rather than just foundational knowledge.
At Reading Like a Historian, you can find lessons in both US and World history that support the use of evidence and literacy skills. Beyond the Bubble has a whole series of short, easy to deliver, and easy to measure assessments of historical thinking.
History Assessments of Thinking.
It’s okay if you’ve been using them without knowing what they were actually called. Cause they’re still awesome. But they’re arranged by the historical thinking skill they measure – Sourcing, Contextualization, Corroboration, Use of Evidence, and Background Knowledge, And so because they’re organized by skill rather than chronologically, it can be difficult to find just the right HAT that fits your instructional needs.
Until now. Read more
Okay. Life changing might be a bit extreme. It’s not like these things are gonna solve that problem we always seem to be having in the Mideast or help the Kansas City Chiefs find a better quarterback. But they are all very slick and can change how you and your students interact with content.
I’d been a hardcore Firefox user for years and slowly started shifting to Chrome a year or so ago. And unless Firefox gets some sort of awesomeness overall, I’m not going back. The reason? Chrome offers too many options for integrating Google tools and third-party apps / extensions into what I do everyday. I’m constantly making connections between my C4 Framework and how Chrome supports that idea of Collect, Collaborate, Create, and Communicate.
The three examples listed below are just a taste of how Chrome extensions can help you and students align teaching and learning to the four C’s. Read more
Several weeks ago, Manhattan, Kansas, middle school teacher Jesse Peters shared the latest book that focuses on historical thinking and assessment. Edited by Kadriye Ercikan and Peter Seixas, the book is titled New Directions in Assessing Historical Thinking and is a collection of 16 different essays. The essays highlight a variety of perspectives from both Europe and the United States on how best to measure historical thinking.
It’s an interesting read – though incredibly nerdy at times – that gives some nice insight into current research and practice.
And an article by Bruce VanSledRight that talks about weighted multiple choice caught my attention. But it wasn’t the description of weighted MC that I walked away with. It was a simple graph, titled A Model of Cognition in History, that was my learning for the day.
It’s not really anything new but I think it’s a powerful visual that can make the whole historical thinking, balance of content knowledge and process skills, new way of instruction and learning thing more understandable to teachers. Read more
I waded into the shallow end of the Google Apps / GAFE / Chromebook pool last summer. In November, I dove off the high board as my office went all Google – mail, calendar, documents, the works.
I’ve been using Google Docs forever so it’s not like the stuff is completely foreign to me. But going all in . . . with all my stuff, emails, contacts, online? Yeah, there was an adjustment period.
But after a few months, I really am falling in love with the syncing of info and materials between all my different devices. I’ve also had a chance to start playing around with all of the different Google tools buried in my account.
My latest favorite? Google Keep. Basically Keep is Google’s version of